Course Descriptions

PhD School Performance Fact Sheet

Grading Policy                                        

PhD Program

Note: WCIU is not accepting any new students into the PhD program. All current PhD students must complete the program within 10 years from the date they started the program (i.e., within the maximum length of the program).                                     


To be eligible to enroll in the WCIU PhD program, a prospective student needs to have a WCIU MA degree (or equivalent) - minimum of 30 credits.

Program Purpose

The PhD in International Development at WCIU provides an interdisciplinary approach that focuses on equipping mid-career professionals seeking to engage in humanitarian service, research, program development and direction, or training of personnel in the broad field of international development.

Notice: Students register and pay for their courses online, and assignments are submitted online. Therefore, all students are required to have regular access to a computer and the Internet.

Program Outcomes

As a result of their studies in the Ph.D. in International Development Program, students will be able to:

  • formulate viable research questions, manage information, design, conduct, and report original research, informed by insights from the integration of biblical, cultural-anthropological, historical and applied research.

  • apply key disciplinary and multi-disciplinary norms and perspectives relevant to the area of specialization in international development to their field and work.

  • show a profound respect for intellectual integrity, and for the ethics of research and scholarship.

  • apply research to refine the efforts of international development organizations in ways that advance the understanding and practices of development programs contextually and globally

  • articulate and communicate effectively through oral and written means in order to disseminate the results of research and practice to a variety of audiences.

  • exhibit the knowledge of an informed professional of international development, in their field of specialization.

  • evaluate the relevance and value of their research to national and international communities of scholars and co-laborers in international development.

  • mentor others in the development of foundational knowledge and skills in their field of international development.

Achievement of these learning outcomes is measured by means of course assignments, evaluation of field experience, Doctoral Qualifying Examination, doctoral dissertation with oral defense, and mentoring activities.

Academic Content

The WCIU doctoral program is field-based with independent study components and does not have a residential component on the WCIU campus. Following the American system, 52 credits of advanced coursework beyond the MA level is required in a specialization within the field of international development. Students who do not have the MA in International Development as the core of the total 52 total credits required for the doctoral program.

The heart of the PhD program is the relationship between the student and their Major Advisor, who serves in a mentoring role. In this collaborative relationship, students contribute to the professional and scholarly goals of their Major Advisors as they pursue their own research under the supervision and guidance of the Major Advisor.

Students in turn share what they are learning in mentoring relationships of their own as a key component of the program. 51 In addition to completing 16 credits of standard courses, PhD students must also complete 22 credits worth of Independent Study, a Doctoral Qualifying Exam, and a dissertation. A minimum of 30 credits of the Required Courses and Individualized Courses must be taken at WCIU.

PhD Program Overview

The 52 credits required for the PhD in International Development are integrated courses are generally earned as shown below:


Standard Courses Program Overview.png
Individualized Courses Program Overview.png
Doctoral Qualifying Exam Program Overview.png
Dissertation Program Overview.png
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— Pablo